In Which Ryan Waxes Dons Giovanni, Caballero, Music Theatre, Other Topicks To His Television

’donHoly sweetastic pants a’fancy. So many Dons this week. Friday! Will it be Don Giovanni at the LA Opera or Don Caballero in Long Beach? One’s an opera featuring a gigolo in fancy pants (see right); one’s a prog-rock outfit featuring odd time signatures, loops and sweaty fans. Don the appropriate attire, take the date to Don Antonio’s out west on Pico and choose the Don of your liking for the main event. Can’t decide which Don you should see? Flip a 1994 series $20 mexican peso in the air. Heads – Miguel Hidalgo, let’s pretend he’s Don somebody just for tonight – you go see Don Giovanni, what do you care.

I’m staring at my HDTV. He looks sexier than I do, but I know better: He’s had work done and one of his component inputs is fried (Y,Pr,Pb? I think it’s Pb. Also, who cares.)

Still and all, he is my television at the end of the day. He’s going to interview me now, briefly. Stay with me.

WH#########T Hello Who’s There.

Yes. Hello Television.

What is this dreck. Why are you recommending The LA Opera’s production of Don Giovanni to the reader? Are you even going to go see it?

I’m all about the music theatre. Not the lavish Andrew Lloyd Webber productions mind you, can’t stomach that bullshit. Pull my fucking hair out. But if something contains music I’d enjoy, I’d see it in a heartbeat. I bought tickets to Porgy and Bess at Dorothy Chandler this year and actually didn’t get the chance to see it. Found out I was going to be out of town so I offered the tickets to a friend. Look at this shit, here’s my order right here. They sold me $20 tix, they were running some promotion. My seats look unbelieveably shitty:

The following item(s) will be First Class Mail
Performance Ticket – Porgy and Bess Fri, May 18, 2007 7:30PM

Seating Section: Rear Balcony B
Sub-Total $40.00

Shitty tickets, fine. Those tickets were never mailed and I had too much stuff going on at the time to stay on top of it, then at some point my friend tried to collect on the ticket offer. It was at this point I realized the date of the show had passed and my tickets were squandered, and could not be reimbursed. That pretty much sucked.

Cry me a river. You forgot to follow up prior to the performance. No sympathy for that.

I’m over it. I have seen a few other stage productions around town, though. Hell I saw Ray Charles Live! @ the Pasadena Playhouse just last weekend (wrote it for [redacted], became interested in the play afterward, purchased tickets, ultimately found it predictable and boring but the music was good)…some lesbian-themed something or other @ the Hudson on Santa Monica, starring a coworker… Dead End @ Ahmanson (somebody knew somebody designed the set or similar, still not sure how I ended up at that one)…those last two have no music technically….wait wait…John Lancie narrating Peter and the Wolf to live orchestra for an auditorium full of spellbound children one Saturday morning at Dorothy Chandler, this was a volunteer gig years ago, the head ballerina’s top slipped down and every child in the house got an eyeful of nipple. Like ten minutes of pure bare nipples, real topless children’s ballet. Believe it!


I saw The Black Rider, Ahmanson, May 2006. That should sure as hell count. I enjoyed that one. Went with Carolyn Kellogg, editor for at the time. I sent Jeannette to review the play for our site the same night (opening night? could be, I forget)…Jeannette bitched that her tickets didn’t include admission to the afterparty but she didn’t miss much. Outcome. Carolyn played it safe – probably wise – and served up a straightforward review; I thought Jeannette’s was funnier. Whatever, I dug the performance we’re not critiquing reviews here.

I saw that play, The Black Rider.

Oh the hell you did. Fuck off.

But I did. I did not care for the “Pegleg” character so much, but the acting was superb.

End point, I’d go see Don Giovanni this Friday. Look at that photo up top. I can’t stop giggling. That guy + Mozart = No-Brainer.

Why are you recommending the reader see Don Caballero? Have you ever even seen Don Caballero?

Take it easy already, it was a cheap double play built shakily from two DON announcements in today’s inbox. But I recommend both shows, whatever that’s worth.

So you have seen Don Caballero, as compared to Don Giovanni?

I saw Don Caballero at Oak Canyon Ranch, Irvine, July 2000. Heat of the afternoon. Goldenvoice setup. This ain’t no picnic, year two, lineup included Beck, Blue Man Group, Sam Prekop, Modest Mouse, At The Drive In, Yo La Tengo etc etc. (Any readers go to this show? Hell no you’re too young) Not a bad first festival I got us into, having just moved out here from Texas. I’ll never forget this moment at that festival. They had two stages right next to each other to insure smooth transitions between bands. Basically you had a seamless full day of music as compared to stage-hopping. Perfect setup. So here’s Don Caballero trio going positively apeshit on one stage. Ridiculous math rock, the loops are out of this world. I’m digging it, I’m into the mad energy, the noises, the loops. Looping guitar out of fucking control. Hulk of a drummer sweating balls off. If memory serves, possibly playing in his boxers. Seems right. Anyhow their time is up but the jam IS NOT FINISHED, dig? Grandaddy’s on the stage to the right. The fucking monitor speakers are kept on for the band but the crowd PA slowly fades into Grandaddy – no bullshit. Caballero’s time was up and that was that, everybody’s getting Grandaddy in the PA speakers, grandaddy this grandaddy that but I’ve seen Grandaddy the year prior at SXSW, see. I like ’em but I want to hang with the new guys, totally into this nutjob Don Caballero show. The crowd shifts but a few dozen fools, self included, stick around near the first stage. They keep jamming although you can’t hear a damn thing they’re playing at this point. Basically you sense the jam. They’re still flailing around. Few minutes into the first Grandaddy song they finish and the hangers-on at stage 1 clap for the set and wail all crazy for their new heroes, Don Fucking Caballero. Now we’re done, bitches. Now we’re done. Anyhow it left a mark on me in some fashion as you can tell. I bought a cd the next week. ’Course Ian Williams is in Battles now, so the lineup has changed, they may have four members at this point. I think they even disbanded for a while. Still, for one afternoon – tough to pull off particularly in an outdoor setting – they managed to out-rock neighboring PA-enabled Grandaddy, regardless of what this archaic molding NME article says to the contrary. At The Drive In, on the other hand…that was an entirely different story. NME didn’t fully do them justice either, that shit was kind of out of control.

So you recommend both shows then. Don Caballero is playing in Long Beach…

Go to Long Beach, what the hell! Spend the day there. When the day is done, you’re in Long Beach, go to the show. What do you want from me. Done. Take off for San Pedro at lunch. Flex Friday. Solid plan. Come 11pm you’ll be jamming with every unattached, sweating male fan of instrumental math rock within a 30-mile radius. Wear something torn and black.


I recommend both shows. Hell, you can actually go to both. DC is playing Safari Sam’s this Wednesday, I added it to the damn calendar today. Then go to DG friday – or any of the other two dozen dates it’s playing between now and December 15. Done. Solved. Next?

You’re going to end up with me Friday, end of night of course. My guess.

Well. We’ll see.